Toronto FC

Toronto FC fall to Nashville SC, shift focus to Saturday's derby vs. Montréal


Toronto FC fell 2-0 away to Nashville SC on Wednesday night at GEODIS Park.

Despite missing several starters through injury and suspension, Toronto held the home side at bay for the majority of the match and looked destined to collect a point only for Shaq Moore to bundle a ball over the line in the 81st minute after Walker Zimmerman headed an Aníbal Godoy cross to the back-post.

Teal Bunbury would add a second in stoppage-time, sweeping in a ball from Tyler Boyd in transition.

“It was an 80-minute performance,” said acting head coach Jason deVos post-match. “I'm really proud of the effort that the players put in for that 80 minutes. They nearly executed the game plan to perfection and nearly got a deserved point, at least, out of the game.”

“Unfortunately, the last ten minutes two mistakes cost us and that's the cruelty of football sometimes – that it's a 90-minute match and you need to put in a 90-minute performance in,” he continued. “The players are aware of that. They know where the growth areas are for us as a team.”

“I have to commend them for the effort they put in,” deVos added.

“They were excellent, especially defensively, for large parts of the game in a very difficult place to get a result against a very difficult opponent.”

Without the services of regulars Federico Bernardeschi, Jonathan Osorio, Prince Owusu, Sean Johnson, Kevin Long, and others Toronto cobbled together a makeshift lineup and nearly got something from the match.

“Overall we had a good performance,” said Tyrese Spicer, back in Tennessee where he attended Lipscomb University. “Until the 80th minute, we were tight as a team, we were committed to getting a clean-sheet, but we lost focus in the last ten minutes. They pounced on us. If we were more tight altogether, we would’ve come out with a point. It's unfortunate we couldn't; disappointed with the result.”

Toronto kept Nashville’s attack quiet for most of the night.

“They have a lot of threat going forward with [Jacob] Shaffelburg, [Hany] Mukhtar, and [Sam] Surridge, particularly a real threat in transition, but the boys did an excellent job of mitigating that,” credited deVos. “The three centre-backs largely nullified their front two and Tyrese did an excellent job in the first half and into the second half before Kobe Franklin came on to really shut the game down on the flank.”

“The guys executed the game plan almost to perfection,” he continued. “In some respects I'm pleased the guys are frustrated, we’re frustrated, because they know this was a good opportunity, but that's the difference between getting a result away from home on the road and not getting a result. It's putting that 90-minute performance together.”

That ‘Next Man Up’ ethos has been part of the mix from nearly the first week of the season.

“The message to the players tonight was to take the opportunity that was in front of them,” outlined deVos. “A lot of players are desperate to play in the first team, are desperate for an opportunity to prove themselves. This was a chance and for 80 minutes they performed exceptionally well, but these are the fine margins in professional football, in MLS.”

“You have to put together a full game and mistakes that cost goals are the difference between coming away from a very difficult place with a smile on your face or feeling frustrated and disappointed that we come away with nothing,” he continued. “The players that stepped in today executed the game plan just to be a tight team, to be very difficult to play through and to beat, to deal with their front two and the pace that they have and the pace of Shaffelburg. For large parts of the game we did that.”

In a busy portion of the season, depth was always going to be tested, and though disappointed the squad will grow from this experience.

“There's a lot to be proud of, a lot to pleased with,” said deVos. “But we also know that we’re coming away frustrated because we got no points out of this match.”

“It's part of the learning process, it’s part of the growth and evolution of this team, to be disappointed with the outcome of the match, knowing that there were a lot of good moments in the match and a lot of positive to come out of that,” he added. “We want to build on that positivity into the next match that's coming up in the next couple of days.”

Toronto will be back in action on Saturday with the visit of CF Montréal to BMO Field.

“Get back to Toronto as quickly as we can and get ourselves ready for Montréal. Preparation starts now,” said deVos. “We have a short period of time to get ready, as do they, but we'll be ready to go. Looking forward to that match on Saturday.”

With the derby against Montréal and the second leg of the Canadian Championship quarterfinal against CS Saint-Laurent set for next Tuesday there will be a Québécois flavour to the next few matches.

“Like Lorenzo [Insigne] said, ‘We move on to the next,’ look at the positives – there was a lot of positives – and we look forward to that Montréal game,” said Spicer.

“It's a derby game, my first, I think it's going to be a very aggressive, very intense, very high-tempo game, which we’ll thrive in.”

“Playing at home, BMO Field, in front of the fans, we play to entertain,” he closed. “We have a good mindset. We'll go back to the training ground, practice, come out strong, and get that three points on Saturday.”